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A Single Sentiment

Date: 2007-01-13
Gilroy - June Rouquette had the jitters when she arrived Sunday to the "Wine Tasting Party for Singles" event with hopes in finding that special man. Little did she know that her wishes would come true that day.

"We need more guys here; I want to meet guys," said Rouquette, an interior designer from Santa Clara.

There was plenty of wine and women to socialize with, and there were several nice looking men.

Joe Kelly from Santa Cruz is from the same birth place in Ireland as Rouquette. Once they learned that they had that in common, the conversation lengthened.

Requests from local residents brought the singles wine tasting party to Gilroy for the first time. The Society of Single Professionals provide events for Bay Area singles and sponsors more than 150 parties a year in San Jose, San Francisco, Marin, Oakland, Walnut Creek, Santa Rosa, Napa, Solano, Santa Cruz, and now, Gilroy. The nonprofit group sponsored the Gilroy event at a 1927 Spanish mansion - formerly known as the Old Curley Building - and now the home of Adagio Winery.

"A lot of people are tired of having to drive up to San Jose," said Rich Gosse , chairman of the Society of Single Professionals. He's written eight books on the topic of dating.

With roughly 100 people turning out for the first gathering in Gilroy, it was an indication of its potential popularity - despite the commanding majority of women. A strong turnout of singles shouldn't surprise those who follow the scene - there are about 89 million unmarried adults heading up households across the country, according to www.unmarriedamerica.org. Results of the American Community Survey, which questioned occupants of 3 million American households in 2005, revealed that unmarried adults headed up 50.3 percent of the nation's housing units last year, while married couples occupied 49.7 percent.

Brian Segarini, 39, of Santa Cruz understood that a wine tasting event attracts more women than men, which was fine with him.

"I think wine attracts more women. Women know more about wine so it's probably easier for them to start a conversation," he said as he sipped white wine. He is a student studying to be a veterinary assistant. "If beer was offered, more men would be present," he added.

But despite the situation, singles are zeroing in on the biggest day of romance in America - Valentine's Day.

"The No. 1 resolution of single people is to find a romantic partner, nobody wants to be alone of Valentines Day," he said adding that the singles' events are most popular around the December and January times.

Rouquette and Kelly both chatted at the bar for a bit before they stepped outside for more privacy. They were on a role.

"If he doesn't have humor, he better not come near me," laughed Rouquette after discovering how funny Kelly is. He finished her sentences as she spoke, and joked about making wedding plans.

A few glasses of wine is all it took to get the place noisy and singles like Rouquette and Kelly laughing. It might have been something in the air - perhaps the smell of burning fire wood that went hand in hand with the nutty tasting Rapazinni wine.

The three-hour event took place under dimly lit lamps, and jumpy music filled the mansion. Most people there were in their 40s and 50s, and chatting took place on every corner of the mansion. It took the men a while to get there so some women left disappointed, but the wine sipping and the chatting extended until after 3pm.

Sylvia Espelage, 55, of San Jose did not know that this was a singles event, and was surprised when she learned of this. She came to mingle and enjoy the wine, and when she looked around the room, she was not impressed.

"Nowadays women have taken an interest in themselves and feel that the men should do that too. We expect what we give," said Espelage, a regional manager for the College Loan Corporation. She did not do much mingling with the men.

"When you talk to them, they think you're interested in them," she said. "I've been single for so long and I'm enjoying it," said Espelage. Last week she traveled to Las Vegas, and spoke of her trip to Europe. "It's nice to enjoy yourself and that doesn't mean that you have to have a man to enjoy your life," she said.

Other wine tasting events take place in the Bay Area, approximately more than 2,000 singles events for the past 28 years. Gosse hopes to take this event to Morgan Hill as well.

"Maybe we'll do Morgan Hill next time," he said.

This is great news for Nancy Brindle, 40, of Morgan Hill who is a single parent, and unlike Espelage, likes to socialize.

"I really like to go out and socialize. We don't have something like this in this town. We always have to go to San Jose, Monterey or Santa Cruz." When she speaks to other women, their frustrations are the same. "A lot of them say 'I'm so tired of this‚'" she said, but she understands that persistency is what will get her that special someone.

For Rouquette, persistency is not problem. At her first try, she already has a prospective partner.

Through she reassured that Kelly and herself are only businesses partners through giggles, she mentioned that more business would take place later on. "Maybe monkey business," she said.

Betsy Avelar attends Gavilan College and is an intern for The South Valley Newspapers. Reach her at 847-7216 or bavelar@gilroydispatch.com.




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